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    #1

    Was the car whose doors and roof were damaged in the last accident sold for/at a...

    Was the car whose doors and roof were damaged in the last accident sold for/at a very low price? (from my teacher's handout)
    Is this sentence correct? Between "for" and "at", which is correct? (The original text is "for".) Thanks!

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    #2

    Re: Was the car whose doors and roof were damaged in the last accident sold for/at a.

    Either preposition works. Some people might say that for should be followed by some amount of money: ...sold for $800/very little money and that at is the best choice before a low price.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #3

    Re: Was the car whose doors and roof were damaged in the last accident sold for/at a.

    I'd use at but think for works.

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    #4

    Re: Was the car whose doors and roof were damaged in the last accident sold for/at a.

    at is the correct choice.
    for is used to say what was received in exchange:


    • the car was sold for $50
    • the car was sold for a small sum of money
    • the cow was traded for some magic beans
    • you can have it for nothing


    You don't actually receive a low price, so for is not correct even though many people would naturally use it (incorrectly).

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    #5

    Re: Was the car whose doors and roof were damaged in the last accident sold for/at a.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    You don't actually receive a low price, so for is not correct even though many people would naturally use it (incorrectly).
    If many people use it naturally, who's to say it's not correct?

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    #6

    Re: Was the car whose doors and roof were damaged in the last accident sold for/at a.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    You don't actually receive a low price, so for is not correct even though many people would naturally use it (incorrectly).
    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    Either preposition works. Some people might say that for should be followed by some amount of money: ...sold for $800/very little money and that at is the best choice before a low price.
    Q.E.D.
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    #7

    Re: Was the car whose doors and roof were damaged in the last accident sold for/at a.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    If many people use it naturally, who's to say it's not correct?
    People like me of course! Remember, even natives (naturally) often demonstrate terrible use of English. It's our task here to advise.

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    #8

    Re: Was the car whose doors and roof were damaged in the last accident sold for/at a.

    So, are your personal feelings more valid than mine? If so, why?

    I, personally, would use 'at', but I cannot think of a legitimate reason for saying that 'for' is incorrect. If you have one, I'd love to hear it.

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    #9

    Re: Was the car whose doors and roof were damaged in the last accident sold for/at a.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    I, personally, would use 'at', but I cannot think of a legitimate reason for saying that 'for' is incorrect. If you have one, I'd love to hear it.
    Just because it may not be immediately obvious to some that there is a valid reason for something doesn't mean that there isn't one. My reasoning (right or wrong) is as follows:

    I bought it for $50
    I bought it at a good p
    rice

    These are 'correct' in the sense that there is no conflict in their use. The thoughts are clear and sound.

    The language after for tells us about what is exchanged, in this case what was paid. There is a basic meaning/use of the word for that is part of the meaning of the thought.

    The word at usually tells us something about a relative position or location. To me the use in this case suggests that in the mind of the speaker there is a scale of price. The speaker was happy with the position of the purchase (a good price) on this perceived scale.

    Because as natives we are all (to different extents) aware of the basic uses/meanings of prepositions, we often have a feeling or preference of one over another, without always knowing exactly why. My view is that there is always a why.

    An auctioneer might say: I sold it at $50. This is not incorrect -- in fact, it reveals that he had a scale of price in his mind and $50 represented a position on this scale. He doesn't use for as he's just an auctioneer and he's not necessarily getting anything out it, in exchange. He will probably never even see the money.

    And if a native speaker says: I bought it for a good price, it suggests that he feels that he's getting a good price out of it. If this is true, then he's not actually using the language 'incorrectly' so I wouldn't say the use of English is 'incorrect'. In this case it is the thought that is incorrect. He's not actually getting the price, even if he thinks he is.

    It is often the case that what we (or just I?) consider to be bad use of English, especially lexical choice, can actually be attributed to sloppy, unclear or misguided thinking. Our choice of language reveals our thoughts and these are not always conscious, or indeed 'correct'.

    (This are just my thoughts on the matter - I may be hopelessly wrong!)

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    #10

    Re: Was the car whose doors and roof were damaged in the last accident sold for/at a.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    (This are just my thoughts on the matter - I may be hopelessly wrong!)
    I don't think you are hopelessly wrong (even if you do write this are ) . In my opinion (and that's all it is - my opinion), you are making the same mistake that the prescriptivists used to make about It is I, who/whom, the split infinitive, etc. You are using logic and/or common sense to dictate what you think we should say, rather than accepting what we do say,

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